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  • The Dying Citizen

  • How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America
  • By: Victor Davis Hanson
  • Narrated by: James Edward Thomas
  • Length: 15 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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The Dying Citizen

By: Victor Davis Hanson
Narrated by: James Edward Thomas
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Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of The Case for Trump explains the decline and fall of the once cherished idea of American citizenship.

Human history is full of the stories of peasants, subjects, and tribes. Yet the concept of the “citizen” is historically rare — and was among America’s most valued ideals for over two centuries. But without shock treatment, warns historian Victor Davis Hanson, American citizenship as we have known it may soon vanish.

In The Dying Citizen, Hanson outlines the historical forces that led to this crisis. The evisceration of the middle class over the last 50 years has made many Americans dependent on the federal government. Open borders have undermined the idea of allegiance to a particular place. Identity politics have eradicated our collective civic sense of self. And a top-heavy administrative state has endangered personal liberty, along with formal efforts to weaken the Constitution.

As in the revolutionary years of 1848, 1917, and 1968, 2020 ripped away our complacency about the future. But in the aftermath, we as Americans can rebuild and recover what we have lost. The choice is ours.

©2021 Basic Books (P)2021 Basic Books

Critic reviews

"Mr. Hanson, an accomplished classicist and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is one of the great amalgamators of American political writing. He has a particular gift for bringing together a dizzying array of events, controversies and ideas and making sense of them by advancing a coherent argument that incorporates thousands of years of history… Mr. Hanson hits hard, but I don’t find his analysis unfair or partisan. There is enormous value, moreover, in thinking about toxic political developments not as problems of the moment but as destructive pathologies to which all societies are prone at all times.”—Wall Street Journal

“Indispensable… Hanson’s immensely erudite and inspiriting book offers a most welcome corrective to those influential forces and doctrines in our midst that conspire to delegitimize the citizen and citizenship as such. In doing so, he provides us with hope that our society still has within it significant powers of rejuvenation.”—National Review 

“As Victor Davis Hanson shows in his learned, powerful, and troubling new book, The Dying Citizen, the steady devolution of citizenship speaks volumes about where we are today and where we seem to be heading… Hanson lays out this grim diagnosis with his usual clarity and brilliance, moving easily from his deep specialized knowledge of the ancient Greek and Roman world through savvy observations about present-day politics and American society.”—The New Criterion 

What listeners say about The Dying Citizen

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Thought provoking

I wouldn’t say a book like this is good as it’s contents can be unsettling. However, there are things I would say in the current climate of the U.S. that seem off to me, and Hanson delivers a well made argument based upon history and current events of movements that seem to be changing the fabric of the country. He places his finger on points that make me think

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Citizenship is the Cornerstone of a Democracy

Dr. Hanson provides any serious and dedicated American Citizen with a clear understanding of the importance ot citizenship and the citizen's role in preserving and sustaining the sovereignty and unity of our nation. He describes clearly the threats to our form of government by those who are willing to destroy the idea of citizenship to make our nation no longer based upon the sovereignty of the people but upon the sovereignty of the state and its bureaucracy. He challenges all citizens to resist the movement of our nation towards the death of citizenship which is the cornwrstone of our democracy.

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Review of The Dying Citizen

This is a very educative, illuminating and timely book that advocates strongly for citizenship. I recommend it for everyone.

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  • wbc
  • 12-10-21

From an uneducated reader;

The examples put forth on the abuses of our constitutional rights and the lack of action to thwart more in the future, is mind boggling. The power wielded by unelected officials, foreign powers dictating American policies, and the details of globalization all mentioned, left me feeling the topics commonly covered by mainstream media sources are a merely a distraction to keep people from looking behind the curtain. I learned quite a bit from this book and follow Victor Davis Hanson regularly. Though not an educated woman, I am grateful when the big world picture is presented in a way that enables me to research further the topics that are now and surely will continue to impact us all. I highly recommend this book.

54 people found this helpful

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  • Dr. S. J. Ahearn III
  • 16-10-21

Very well done.

I listened on audiobooks. Nicely paced, very informative and thoughtful. Now if we can only get the citizens to all learn from it.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Montgomery E.
  • 16-10-21

Starts Well, Then Veers Off

The first several chapters are well documented and argued. But the book veers into a diatribe and stays there by chapter four. This is a disappointment given the quality of the first several chapters and it feels like he became distracted by making partisan arguments rather than defining a clear and universal definition of the American citizen. This is a critical project and I was excited to read it. It has become obvious that our nation's excessive focus on our differences has left our society with little we recognize as common to us all. How we come to define the essence of the "American citizen" will define those things we most value. Values drive behavior, politics, and security. From a national security perspective, our lack of cohesion leaves us vulnerable to hostile influence, internal division, and an inability to form coherent foreign policy based on shared American values. Given Dr. Hanson's esteemed career, he could have driven these points home, but missed the opportunity. Having read and enjoyed many of his books, I will have to rank this as a major disappointment.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Mitchell
  • 14-10-21

Every American Needs to Read This!

This erudite work is a masterpiece of American civics. Every citizen should read this and everyone seeking to become a citizen should too. Prof. Hanson's mastery of the classical ancient world is on full display with apt comparisons from ancient to modern world. The "new" political themes and platforms threatening our Republic are not so new after all. Gratias tibi ago magister maximus!

14 people found this helpful

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  • Leo Aprendi
  • 16-11-21

Great book by VD Hanson; audible unfortunately marred by mispronunciations

Victor Davis Hanson is one of the most penetrating thinkers in the USA today, who combines deep erudition with topical insight and a clear, vibrant style.

Re the Audible, The narrator has a fine sounding voice and articulates well, but unfortunately his mispronunciations are frequent enough to become annoying, like a person sniffing behind you in the theater or a mosquito in a midnight bedroom.

How hard would it have been to research proper pronunciations instead of just winging “harder” English words or names from classical antiquity? Don’t alleged professionals do any prep anymore?

I eventually got over the word-farts of the narrator (via Zen meditation) and managed to finish the book. Hanson is too superb to be mangled by a sloppy narrator. If you only listen to books, and would benefit from VDH, you will definitely survive this recording, so don't let my warning stop you.

I give this book five stars because it’s not Hanson’s fault that an unprepared voice-talent read his book into the microphone.

Publisher should re-record. Can use same reader but he has to do his homework and diligently practice.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Mike Jones
  • 14-11-21

WARNING: This book may require multiple listenings

Have a pencil and a pad ready to take notes. Do research to see if the things stated in this book are so. This work just might show you the difference between a resident citizen and an informed citizen

10 people found this helpful

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  • Catherine S. Bennett
  • 20-10-21

Accurate Portrayal

Unlike Leftist Progressive historical accounts this one does not change or rewrite history to reflect a particular point of view.
As with other Hanson books, the historical context is outstanding.
Well done.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-11-21

The Dying Free Society

This book gives great true history of the foundation of the where and how America derived it's template for our government and free nation. then it transitions into how these old Marxist tricks are being used with a different subject, yet same death principles to ruin and destroy the greatest nation in the history of mankind! unfortunately the ease of life in this free society, which the constitution built and maintains. has produced a population of ignorant and lazy people who think this is how everyone on the planet gets treated! this book can and will wake you up! to the reality of the lies and destruction communism has produced for 75 plus years. if you don't understand how this great nation is crumbling, then please read this book.

8 people found this helpful

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  • mmaybry
  • 15-10-21

Vital reading.

An outstanding historical perspective and sound overview of the state of our union. VDH never fails to enlighten. Truly, one of the great intellects of our time. Thank you, Dr. Hanson!

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  • Dan B.
  • 17-10-21

Disappointing

I was expecting much more from Dr. Hansen. This reads like a generic ode to "the way it was when I was a kid". There's nothing new or informative here.

5 people found this helpful